30 December 2010

When is a Government legitimate?

Only 23.3 % of those eligible to vote supported Chancellor Merkel's party during the last federal election in Germany. Governing parties in the UK often have very low electoral support as well. So one has to doubt the legitimacy of governments that rule without real majority support. In addition, elections basically mean that the citizens at best have a hazy idea of what the governments will actually do during their period in power. Direct Democracy alleviates this problem as all legislation will ultimately have to pass scrutiny by the electorate. This will ensure that the interests of the citizens are much more closely aligned with the decisions of the government - whatever its level of public support. Even governments elected with overwhelming public support often lose popularity later on. Instead of having to wait for the next election before it can be changed the requirement to hold a referendum on all new policy initiatives ensures that the citizens have a say during this period as well.

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